Press Release: UNHCR and Better Shelter extend agreement on the provision of temporary housing for refugees

UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, is extending its partnership with the Swedish social enterprise Better Shelter until 2021, to provide temporary housing units in support of people forced to flee.

Since 2015, UNHCR and Better Shelter have delivered over 50,000 housing units to refugees and internally displaced people in more than 50 countries. The durable, self-standing structure has helped to create a safer, more dignified shelter for some of the world’s most vulnerable people.

“The extension of the partnership agreement gives us the opportunity to continue to build on the successful collaboration we have developed with UNHCR. Together, we will now continue to provide temporary housing and develop methods for upgrading our units with local materials, reducing costs and minimizing environmental impact,” says Johan Karlsson, Better Shelter Managing Director.

Better Shelter units have mainly served as housing for displaced people, but have also been used as learning spaces for children, playrooms, offices, transit centres and field clinics, and during the COVID-19 pandemic, to support UNHCR’s global health response. In countries such as Panama and Guatemala, for example, they help to provide safe and dignified spaces to screen people, identify protection needs and help mitigate the spread of the virus.

Better Shelter flat-packed units last for more than three years and protects users against rain, wind and heat. Their doors can be locked from both the inside and the outside, increasing security for residents. One housing unit is delivered in two boxes and can be set up in a few hours by a team of four people.

For further information, please contact:

Johan Karlsson, Managing Director at Better Shelter
+46 (0) 73 640 14 33

About Better Shelter

Better Shelter is a social enterprise that develops and provides innovative housing solutions for people displaced from their home by armed conflicts and natural disasters. Through clever design, innovation and modern technology Better Shelter works to create safer and more dignified temporary homes to millions of people worldwide. Better Shelter currently collaborates with the IKEA Foundation and the UN refugee agency, UNHCR. Read more at


UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, is a global organization dedicated to saving lives, protecting rights and building a better future for people forced to flee their homes because of conflict and persecution. We deliver life-saving assistance like shelter, food and water, help safeguard fundamental human rights, and develop solutions that ensure people have a safe place to call home. We work in over 130 countries, using our expertise to protect and care for millions of people. Read more at

Image credit: © UNHCR/Matheus Felipe Pereira de souza